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Neck Pain When Looking Up

What causes neck pain when looking up?

Looking up as you reach for something over your head. Tilting your head to check out that cloud that looks like a dog. People look upward so often that they don’t typically think much about it. That is, until doing so starts causing them neck pain. 

Neck pain is one of the most common types of musculoskeletal pain. Medical researchers report that approximately 80% of people have an episode of neck pain in any given year. For some, neck pain might occur when looking up, and physical therapists can help you figure out why this is happening. 

Three issues that can cause neck pain when looking up

The tool a physical therapist uses to help patients learn the source of their neck pain when looking up is an assessment. This typically includes several parts. The therapist might ask you questions about your daily activities and life. They might also inquire if you’ve had any recent accidents or trauma. Additionally, therapy specialists could test the function and range of motion of your neck. 

Three common issues that assessments for neck pain could reveal are: 

  1. Cervical spinal stenosis — This issue occurs when the spaces in the cervical spine gradually narrow. Often, the narrowing is a result of age-related wear and tear or trauma. Cervical spinal stenosis is especially common in older people. One study reports that about 7% of adults over 50 have this issue. 
  1. Whiplash — A common symptom of whiplash is neck pain, and whiplash is typically caused by car accidents or impacts to the head while playing sports. The symptoms of this condition can often appear days, weeks or months after the event that caused it. Whiplash is also very common, with more than 3 million new cases occurring annually. 
  2. Cervical osteoarthritis — This condition is known as cervical spondylosis to medical professionals. It occurs when the discs and joints in the neck degenerate as our bodies age. It’s estimated that more than 85% of Americans over 60 have cervical osteoarthritis. 

Want to treat neck pain when looking up? SOL Physical Therapy can help

Are you searching for effective treatment for neck pain when looking up? Our therapy specialists at SOL Physical Therapy are primed to assist you. We offer complimentary screenings designed to reveal the source of your neck pain. Our team also excels at building personalized therapy plans intended to decrease and prevent the recurrence of neck pain. Additionally, all our services can be used without first getting a doctor’s referral, including our virtual care and at-home therapy services. 

Contact our team today for more information about how we can help treat your neck pain or to schedule your initial appointment. 

About the author

Sports + Orthopedic Leaders Physical Therapy & Performance Training serves the communities of Oakland, Alameda, Berkeley, Walnut Creek, Orinda, San Francisco and beyond. SOLPT’s award winning team of Physical Therapists, Performance Coaches and movement experts has helped thousands reach their rehabilitation and performance goals to move beyond pain. We're committed to helping anyone of any fitness level move effectively and more powerfully for a lifetime. We offer rehabilitation and performance services to all populations, with specialties in Sports Rehabilitation, Active Release Techniques, and Manual Therapy Techniques plus Personal and Small Group Training, Sport Clinics and Wellness Services.